The British science fiction television series Black Mirror is known for its forward-thinking episodes. However, Netflix's latest Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch pushes the boundaries in television further forward and presents a possible new future for TV in interactive film.
The new premise here is that Bandersnatch is a movie where you choose your own adventure, complete with branching paths and a variety of different endings. You are in control of the decisions big and small that will change the outcome of the film, whether it be what cereal you will choose for breakfast, to what tape to listen to, right through to larger life decisions. Each decision will lead you down a different path and can determine how long the film actually is. The film can last a whole lot longer if you go back through to see how different the story can be made to go. According to Netflix there are five main endings to the film, based on the decisions made by the viewer throughout.
Based on decisions you have made throughout the film, you will be greeted with an option at the end of the movie, where you can either roll the credits, or go back to the story's crucial moment, and change your choice to see how the film could turn out differently. This will allow you to see most of the possible variants without having to go back to the very beginning.
With the film taking so many possible different paths it took a total of 35 days to film every possible outcome, and around 90 minutes to watch, according to the Global News Website. It is said that the episode has more than a trillion unique permutations due to all the potential variants involved.
"It was difficult all the way through," series creator Charlie Brooker was quoted as saying.
Co-creator Annabel Jones said: "One of the most challenging things about making this has been the crafting of the world and the various branches, and also limiting the endless, infinite potential offshoots and different stories you can make."
Carla Engelbrecht, Netflix's director of product innovation, added: "There are literally millions of permutations of the story, and your decisions matter."
Reddit users, the American social news aggregation, are already hard at work mapping out the show's storyboard, with the most useful user thread building a flow chart that details the episodes decision tree and where they lead.
"It's a bit like making a giant patchwork quilt," Brooker told Wired magazine. "It's the only thing I've ever worked on where the story treatment crashed."
Netflix previously experimented with multiple narratives in children's shows Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile.
According to Variety, Bandersnatch cannot be viewed on Apple TV, Chromecast and "some older smart TVs" but rather on laptops and devices.